Several of my readers have cautioned me that the Jewish community has taken on a new strategy which goes something like this:
"Regrettably, there are a few foul apples among us, but the rest of us have nothing but nothing to do with Holocaust exploitation. We know that there have been abuses, and they should be condemned. We want to go on record stating that."
That may be true in selected cases - because now that the Holocaust is coming unraveled before our very eyes, there is a lot of anxiety about negative fallout, but I believe that what we are seeing and hearing is, for the most part, genuine.
The Jewish community is not stupid, and they know they cannot continue to exploit the Holocaust as an emotional cudgel the way they have done for the last 50-plus years.
Not that it is all that easy to let go of the psychological advantage, as the following brief article demonstrates. It is dated June 5, 2000 and was written by John Lloyd, apparently an "acculturated" Diaspora Jew who has begun to "revise" his own Weltbild.
It's really quite instructive how arrogance mingles with angst as his fellow tribesmen react to his "revisions."
The title is "The day I was called an anti-Semite", and the author's name is John Lloyd:
Last month I wrote an article for the Canadian daily, the Globe and Mail -- "Slaying the ghosts of Jewry's past". The article caused me to be labelled an anti-Semite.
In the piece, I described a recent visit to Israel. I narrated briefly the case of the Qa'dan family, Palestinian citizens of Israel, who had been denied the right to buy land in a Jewish settlement, but who had the denial overturned by the Supreme Court after five years of struggle. I said that this judgment marked an opening to the possibility of Israel becoming a liberal state.
Israel must have been one repressive, miserable state if it becomes a "liberal state" merely by native-born Palestinians wanting to buy land in areas the 1948 conquerors seized - and made Jewish apartheid areas ever since!
The final section went like this:
In the present Labour government of Ehud Barak, there is an understanding that the state can no longer justify itself on the old basis. The great sufferings of the past, of which the Holocaust is by far the greatest, can no longer be used as a moral exculpation of the Israeli state, nor can the Zionist cause take precedence over the demands of equal access to justice. ... Israel must at the same time cease to rely on the Holocaust. This action would deprive the anti-Semites of part of their platform -- that part which feeds the monstrous vision with observation of the real breaches of human rights committed by the Israeli state. Israel's need is to supersede its Zionist destiny by transforming it from an ethnic and religious cause into a democratic one.
Have we not heard for fifty-plus years that "Israel is the only democratic state" in that area? By every Israel Firster? So have we been lied to once again about this one, too?
About a week after the article appeared, I received a call from a man who introduced himself as the Israeli consul general in Toronto, Meir Romem. "Many people", he said, "believe this article to be anti-Semitic." Floundering in surprise, I said that it was "certainly not anti-Semitic". "Well," he said, "in that case, I think you must immediately write an article correcting this."
"I certainly will not," I said, angrily. "How dare you phone me up and accuse me of anti-Semitism. Go to hell." And I put down the phone.
I must admit this one sounds to me a little flaky. I cannot imagine a serious writer - of the tribe yet! - talking to an Israeli consul general that way!
Romem had a more patient, if sceptical, reception at the Globe and Mail, when he phoned a senior editor to impress on him that I was anti-Semitic.
The call infuriated me. But I then thought that it must have been bogus: some extremist was posing as an Israeli diplomat. I called the press officer at the Toronto consulate and explained what had happened. She was polite, but said that "many in the community were deeply troubled" by the article, and that Romem had indeed made the call. I then said I would not tolerate being called an anti-Semite by an Israeli official, and asked her how I should complain. She consulted the consul, called me back, and said that he had advised that the complaint be addressed to the Israeli ambassador to Britain, Dror Zeigerman, and the Israeli foreign minister, David Levy. Yet it was pointless to complain to either. The consul is subordinate to the Israeli ambassador to Canada, David Sultan; above that, his chain of command is the bureaucratic one, not the political one.
So the Consul General lied? Or his staff lied about the chain of command so the complaint would not reach the Consul General's superior? The plot is thickening.
A couple of days later, I got another call, from Paul Michaels of the Canada-Israel Committee in Toronto. He was polite. He wanted to discuss the piece because of its "troubling" implications. In saying that anti-Semitism was stimulated by acts of Zionist organisations or the Israeli state, he argued, I was blaming the Jews for their own oppression -- an anti-Semitic tactic ("they asked for it").
For the uninitiated: The Canada Israel Committee is the Hit Squad of the Israeli Lobby. Lloyd must have really rattled them to deserve such attention.
Then came an editorial in the weekly Canadian Jewish News. It represented the bulk of my argument as a "veil", which was then lifted to "see his [Lloyd's] truer face"--which was to "blame the victim for being victimised" and to argue that "Israel must cease to be a state for the Jews". This was rubbish, even if revealing rubbish -- for I was arguing, hardly originally, that Israel should become a state for its citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike.
How little Western-acculturated Jewish folks like this Lloyd really know about Israelis and Israeli sympathizers and how they work at intimidating press people is amazing.
I was troubled by this time. I called Avi Shlaim, the Oxford-based Israeli historian whose book on Israeli-Arab relations, The Iron Wall, has just been published. "I have often been criticised harshly by Israelis," he told me, "but I have never retracted, and I don't think you should."
Only Jewish authors would have the guts to tough it out - the "Jewish bonus" being their shield.
The most important issue for the Israelis in this sad exchange is the nature of the response. The notion of anti-Semitism held by Romem, Michaels and the Canadian Jewish News was as a reverse image of the anti-Semite's view of Jews -- sly, working by stealth and deception, endlessly mendacious. In their view, I had put out a liberal smoke screen about Holocaust denial in order to outrage a fundamental taboo: it must never be suggested that the state of Israel, or Zionism, could contribute to anti-Semitism.
Hate and arrogance really do make these tribal members blind to their ways - and to the reaction they cause in non-Jewish people.
Zionism would be a unique national movement if it had never given offence: indeed, national movements are to some extent formed to give offence -- usually to the empire or state from which the national movement wishes to break free. In the course of that, most such movements use past horrors, or alleged horrors, in an aggressive fashion. In our own islands, Irish republicans (including the Irish state) have used the martyrdom of the leaders of the 1916 Easter uprising for the best part of a century; while Scots nationalists, hard put to find a martyrdom, finally settled on the medieval tortures inflicted on William Wallace as a rallying point in the historic pastiche Braveheart.
That Lloyd is no slouch. Jewish lobbyists and Zionist zealots and apologists won't like this "relativizing" of their "unique" struggle.
The Holocaust was of a vastly different scale and quality from these; but all can be used as a moral or emotional weapon against real or imagined enemies. The lessons of the Holocaust are still to be ingested by gentiles -- they were only partially grasped by the Pope in his recent speeches in Israel and Palestine. The Holocaust does not teach, however, that its memory constitutes a gatekeeper over a discussion of Israeli behaviour, nor that Israeli diplomats should feel themselves able to decide who is, or who is not, an anti-Semite, and incite others to agree with them. These are the methods of a Trotskyite sect looking for capitalist tendencies in other Trotskyite sects. They also tend to make my point.
Here is one Diaspora Jew who has mercifully seen the light. Guess who opened his eyes for him?
He and millions of others the world over are learning some very valuable lessons every day - as the supposed "victims" squander what remained of the empathy once generated by their convenient Holocaust Schlock.
Once more - there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Thought for the Day - long but delicious!
Lubavitch versus Satmar, Labour versus Shas, Sephardim versus Ashkenazim, Orthodox versus Reform.
There's a kind of low-intensity Jewish civil war being waged Israel and signs are everywhere that strife between Jew and Jew is likely to increase.
Meanwhile, typical diasporan Jewish appeals for more tolerance and racial sensitivity (with, of course, ritual evocations of the Holocaust) and the dramatic contrast these present with the sprectre of systemic Israeli (read: Jewish) racism is not going unnoticed, as the article and letters published last June in the London Guardian suggest.
Now and then we underscore how the Jewish psyche is caught in a double-bind, having to reconcile its routine victimization of Palestinians with routine evocations of victimhood under the Nazis. The letters the Guardian published show how others, anything but blind to this grotesque paradox, are unabashed about pointing it out.
(Letter to the Zundelsite)
Back to Table of Contents of the Sept. 2000 ZGrams